Belichick goes light at AFC coaches breakfast


Belichick goes light at AFC coaches breakfast

PALM BEACH -- Bill Belichick generally doesn't seem to enjoy like being told where to go, how long to stay and who to talk to.

When he's told those things by NFL officials he likes it even less. And when those things include meeting with the media, he likes it least of all.

So the kinder, gentler, happier Bill Belichick we saw at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis was not in attendance at Tuesday's AFC Coaches Breakfast.

For most of his 45-minute sitdown, Belichick was cordial but curt. Specific questions on the Patriots' personnel moves, rules changes, moves around the AFC and other league issues were met with general responses.

He was ultimately more expansive on some historical topics toward the end of his session.

At one point, I asked Belichick if he would prefer toe surgery or the coaches breakfast.

"This is great," he deadpanned. "Chance to see everybody here, got a good turnout. You guys are pretty well represented."

Noting that Rex Ryan and John Fox were garnering the biggest audiences because of their quarterbacking moves recently, Belichick offered, "Sean (Payton) is out in the lobby if you need to talk to him."

A few nuggets on players . . .

Expectations for Chad Ochocinco in his second season with the team?
I think I have the same expectations for all our players, doesnt matter who they are, doesnt matter what year theyre in. Come in, work hard, be prepared, go out there and compete on the field. No difference for any player. First year, second year, theyre here to play football for us, then thats what they need to do.

On whether Anthony Gonzalez worked out for the Patriots?
Yeah, Im not going to get into specific guys. We go through the process of a lot of things, were comfortable with the player, whatever the process is then we sign him. Or, if hes comfortable with us, then he signs with us. Theres a lot of factors that go into it and kinda each ones different . . . We did a lot of work on him when he came out four years ago. Hes never been in our system, Ive never coached the player, so I dont know. Well have to see how it all goes.

On recently-signed pass rusher Trevor Scott?
Hes another guy who was, four years ago, we did work on him. Thats what we do. We scout the players coming out, evaluate them, some come to our teams, some go to other teams, and then our pro personnel department evaluates them through the course of their career, first, second, third year, whatever it is. Monitor their progress and if they become available later on, whether thats trade, release, free agency, whatever the process is, then we take the old evaluations, put them with the new evaluations and try to get a profile of the player and based on the other factors, our team, salary, contract, etc., all that, sometimes it comes together, sometimes it doesnt, so

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: 'Incomprehensible' to expect same greatness from Patriots?


BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: 'Incomprehensible' to expect same greatness from Patriots?

0:43 - Tom Curran, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley talk about Bill Belichick saying it’s “incomprehensible” that people expect the Patriots to be on the same level as last year at this point in the season.

11:55 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley discuss J.R. Smith’s comments about the Celtics not being a threat to the Cavaliers.

15:38 - Abby Chin, Chris Mannix, and A. Sherrod Blakely join BST from Cleveland to talk about Marcus Smart and the Celtics failing to agree to a contract extension, making him a restricted free agent in July. They also preview Tuesday’s Celtics-Cavaliers season opener.

19:25 - Reports say Alex Cora is the frontrunner for the Red Sox managerial position, but Brad Ausmus interviewed for the position on Monday. Who is the right man for the job? Tom Giles and Michael Holley discuss.

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

BOSTON – When Brad Stevens took the Boston Celtics job in 2013, he knew what he was getting into.
Yes, the Celtics at that time were rebuilding which usually means years and years of slow but steady progress – if you’re lucky.
And then after maybe a few years of struggling to win games, a breakout season occurs and just like that – you’re back in the playoffs.


 But here’s the thing with the Celtics.
While most rebuilding teams spend years working their way towards being competitive, Stevens hit the ground running and in just four years, he led the Celtics from being a 25-win team to one that was just three wins away from getting to the NBA Finals.
He has the kind of basketball resume that’s impressive on many levels.
But Stevens knows good isn’t good enough in this town.
“We’re here in Boston,” he said. “Winning is good, but hanging one of those (banners) up is what it’s all about. That’s what makes this such a special franchise.”
And for Stevens, a franchise where the expectations for success under his watch have never been greater than they are now.
Boston only returns one starter (Al Horford) from last year’s squad which advanced to the Eastern Conference finals after having won an East-best 53 games.
However, they added a pair of All-Stars in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to join Horford. In addition, they drafted Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.
Boston also has a slimmed-down Marcus Smart (he lost 20 pounds from a year ago) as well Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier who will both benefit from having another NBA season under their belts.
And while it’s a small sample size and consists of just two teams (Philadelphia and Charlotte), the Celtics breezed their way through the preseason with a flawless 4-0 record which included at least one game in which they did not play their usual starters which shows how impactful their depth may be this season.
That success can only help, especially with a challenging schedule that includes seven of their first 11 games being on the road. 
Still, the potential of this Celtics team has never been greater than it is right now since Stevens took over in 2013.
And just like the increased expectations of the team, the same can be said for Stevens who is considered one of the better coaches in the NBA.
Marcus Morris will begin his first season with the Celtics, but had a lot of respect for Stevens well before he was traded to Boston from Detroit this summer.
“You hear a lot of good things about him from other players,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “And once you get in here and start working with him and seeing what he does every day, you see what they’re talking about. He’s a good coach, man.”
This team’s success will hinge on how the players perform, but there’s an added element of pressure on Stevens to find the right combinations that will position the Celtics for success.
“We have a lot more guys who can do a lot more things on the court, so it will be a little more challenging for us to figure out how to best play with each other, and for Brad to figure out which combinations are the best ones,” Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “But we’ll figure it out. Brad’s a really good coach, a really smart coach. And on our team, we have a lot of players who are smart, high basketball I.Q. guys. We’ll be OK.”
Basketball smarts aside, the Celtics’ success will hinge heavily on how quickly they can bring a roster with 10 new players up to speed quickly.
It’s still early, but players like what they’ve seen from the collective body in terms of team chemistry.
“I think that’s the beauty of a lot of guys on the team,” said Gordon Hayward. “It’ll be different each night with some of the different roles we play.”
Which is why the Celtics, while lacking experience as a team because of so many new faces, are still seen as capable of winning because they have a number of players who can impact the game in many ways.
But as good as they are, it still comes back to Stevens doing a good job of putting them in the best positions to find success individually as well as for the Celtics team.
When you look at how time with Stevens jumpstarted Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder’s careers, or how it helped revitalize the career of Evan Turner, it’s obvious that he has the Midas touch when it comes to getting the most out of players.
For Boston to have the kind of success they believe they are due for, it’s going to take the contributions of many.
And even that might not be enough.
But having the path being bumpier than expected is something Stevens embraces.
“Here in this league,” he said, “you have to love challenges.”